A few days ago I packed a vegan bento with a seitan and bok choy stir fry. Normally when I use seitan it’s store bought —which can be expensive. Then I read somewhere of homemade seitan and I practical smacked myself…why didn’t I think of making my own seitan from scratch!
I read a few recipes and even watched a demo on YouTube. After that I felt pretty confident that I could overcome my fear of dough and whip up some wheat meat! I even “winged it” with the recipe.
Oh.. this is not a recipe that you can just whip up and cook for immediate bento packing. This is definately a “plan ahead” and “cook extra” for a bento stash recipe.
Seitan (wheat meat)
2 1/2 cups of high gluten flour ( I used unbleached)
1 cup of water
1/4 cup of shoyu
2 tablespoons of BaconSalt (I wanted a pork flavor)
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. I had to use my hand to fully mix.
Roll out onto a flour covered work area and knead for a few minutes.
I kneaded it into a ball and placed it back in the mixing bowl to let rest for 30 minutes.
Then I ran (maybe too hard) warm water into the bowl to begin the rising process. This removes all the starch from the dough ball. Which by the way was about the size of a large grapefruit.
You can see starch in the water as I swirled the bowl. I also switched to cool water and then massaged the dough with my hands to work more of the starch out.
But… oh oh… I think I got too rough with it and it started to fall apart!!
So I plopped it into a wire strainer as it felt like it was disintegrating right there in my hands. I thought for sure it was a goner which would of sealed my trauma about dough forever!
But hey, the wire strainer trick worked! I pressed on the dough to push the excess water out of the ball and I kept on pressing until the water ran clear.
The ball lost half it’s size after all the starch was rinsed out! I pressed as much of the water as I could through the mesh and formed a patty.
Here’s the seitan patty in a broth made from water, shoyu, garlic and ginger. I realized after it started to simmer that I needed to add more broth because seitan needs to float when it’s done cooking. Isn’t that weird, that you have to boil the seitan before you’re able to cook with it.
The seitan floated to the top when it was done… just like they said it would.
Here’s the finished product just before I sliced it for the stir-fry.
This seitan was a bit soft and I think it’s because I needed to press it more before boiling. The texture when you’re working with this is very strange. It’s like plastic or rubber and very unappetizing. I was hesitant to even post photos because it’s not very appealing and very colorless. It tasted good and with the stir-fried bok choy it turned out to be a pretty dish!
Here’s the bento box that featured this seitan.
If anyone has any tips on how to create a firmer seitan please give me a clue in the comments! Does anyone have any experience making theri own seitan?